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Man arrested, arraigned for 2011 murder of Wainaku toddler

Police have arrested a 38-year-old Mountain View man for a 2011 murder in Hilo.

At 9:40 a.m. Tuesday, acting on a tip, police arrested Xavier J. Cortez Jr., also known as “Pee Wee” Cortez, on a sealed arrest warrant for second-degree murder. He was located at a home in the Livingston subdivision in Mountain View and taken into custody without incident.

On Jan. 22, the case was presented to a grand jury, which returned an indictment for second-degree murder. At the request of police and the prosecutor, the indictment was sealed while police searched for Cortez.

Cortez was held without bail until he made his initial court appearance Tuesday afternoon.

Cortez pleaded not guilty and Hilo Circuit Judge Glenn Hara scheduled trial for June 2 at 8:30 a.m.

The judge also set Cortez’s bail at $1 million.

On Jan. 2, 2011, police received a report that 19-month-old Pomaikai Ferreira had been taken to Hilo Medical Center and was experiencing difficulties breathing. She was transferred by air ambulance to The Queen’s Medical Center on Oahu, where she died on Jan. 9, 2011.

Cortez was initially arrested for first-degree assault on the day of the incident. He was later released pending further investigation by Hilo Criminal Investigations Section detectives.

The medical examiner who performed the autopsy on Ferreira ruled the death a homicide as a result of injuries due to abusive head trauma.


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